Episode 85 of the Divorce and Your Money Show begins a three-part series on Financial Affidavits, also called a Statement of Net Worth.
A Financial Affidavit is the most important financial document in a divorce proceeding. What is it? It is a summary of all of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. While it may sound simple, this very detailed document is the key negotiation tool that determines child support, alimony, the splitting of assets, and virtually everything financial. It is important to correctly fill it out the first time, and it may require the assistance of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) before it goes to your attorney.
We will begin with where to find the Financial Affidavit. Each state is different, but you can usually begin by looking at the court where you filed for divorce. The affidavits may have different names, but the titles will generally be finance- related. There can be short or long forms; the specific form you need will vary according to your needs.
Next, you need to initially review the form. These forms can be very detailed, so be sure to study each question first. Do not be intimidated by all the questions or numbers, take them one at a time. To answer any questions, work with a CDFA or financial coach.
The last step is to begin gathering the necessary documents. Stay organized and begin early; otherwise, this could be a painful process. The first chapter of my book, Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, provides a great checklist. If you do not have my book, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be happy to send it to you.
Here is a list of some of the items needed: bank account statements, credit card statements, investment statements, employment statements, mortgage statements, and appraisals.
This episode is the beginning of a three-part series, so stay tuned for the next episode—on the Income Section of the Financial Affidavit.
Key Learning Points
- A Financial Affidavit is the key document that determines the financial settlement.
- Each state has different structures for the financial affidavit, though the information is the same.
- You need to fill out this form correctly the first time—before you even show it to your attorney or financial team.
- You will generally find the financial affidavit in the same place you began the divorce proceeding (e.g., a state website). It may be a short or long form, depending on your situation.
- Next, review the document line by line. If you have questions, contact a CDFA.
Finally, begin collecting documents early, and stay organized. Get a binder, keep the documents separate, and start now. There is a great checklist in my book.
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